Sarah Ellis

Virginia Laboratory Director and Office Manager

James Madison University, B.S. Anthropology

John Hopkins University, M.A. Museum Studies

Sarah Ellis is originally from central Virginia, outside of Charlottesville. From 2003 to 2009, she attended college at James Madison University (JMU) where she studied anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. In 2007, she began working as the field and lab senior team leader at the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory. While working at JMU, Sarah gained extensive experience in both historic and prehistoric archaeology within the Virginia Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. In 2013, she moved to Florida to work for the Southeast Archaeological Center of the National Park Service, where she gained experience in prehistoric, historic, and faunal analysis for 66 National Park units throughout the Southeastern United States spanning from Kentucky to Florida and Puerto Rico. Sarah began working for CRA at the West Virginia office in December 2014 as the Laboratory Director, responsible for all aspects of curation including supervising and conducting artifact processing, archival and digital records management, and maintaining a clean lab facility. In April 2018, Sarah transferred to CRA’s Virginia office and in addition to her laboratory duties, has taken on the role of Office Manager. Sarah received a Masters of Arts in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University in May 2018, a degree that is directly applicable to her archaeological laboratory and curatorial work.


Sarah also has a background in geology and geography and is skilled in lithic analysis. Moreover, having attended field school at James Madison’s Montpelier and conducted fieldwork at 17th to 20th century historic component sites, she is also highly proficient in historic analysis. In 2009, Sarah switched focus from field archaeology to a career in collections management. She is very interested in archaeological collections management theory and believes in finding new and innovative ways to curate collections and archive records in an increasingly digital field. In her daily work, she strives for detail and consistency, rendering collections more accessible to the researcher.


In her spare time, Sarah enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycling, and canoeing, attending concerts and other music venues, reading, writing, binge watching Netflix, and making jewelry and soaps. She also likes to get out and throw the atlatl from time to time or help with flintknapping demonstrations.